Virginia Woolf’s The Death of the Moth : A Short Analysis

Virginia Woolf’s The Death of the Moth : A Short Analysis

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An interesting theme is being brought to an extraordinary piece of literature by Virginia Woolf, in which she utilized ?Life and Death? as the grand theme, which being written in the form of a story of a moth?s death. This essay has a first person point of view, in which the speaker witness the moth?s struggle to escape her windowpane, before eventually death came and took its life.

Throughout the essay, we can acknowledge the speaker?s visceral thoughts about her surroundings, at first when she sees the moth, she recognizes that moth as a very emaciated creature is living its life to its fullest let?s say, reaching and extending its boundary as it flies around. The speaker, then realizes that the moth is a metaphor of life, as she continues to observe and drown in her own thoughts, as it is written

?He was little or nothing but life?.

In this part, the speaker reflects the life of a moth through life itself, as she soon pity how the moth is just a diminutive creature that is incapable of making a different in this vast world, so it is useless. Additionally, the speaker?s fascination of life is truly remarkable, by the way she cherishes her surroundings and the beauty behind them.

As the essay progresses, the speaker begins to contemplate about energy, how it becomes the only force that makes the moth still flying, although as explained before it is useless, yet she marvels about it. This relates to how both moth and human are the same creature, they have the same exact energy that drives them to do tasks and routines, just like when she mentions about the ploughmen in her surroundings,

?the same energy which inspired the rook, the ploughmen??.

This concept might hint about her fear towards living a constant idle life and her unknowingness on how to live a valuable life.

Next, as the moth is struggling to regain its movement when its body turns stiff and awkward and falls down as told by the speaker, she compels to help the moth to right its position; but as she is about to stretch out her pencil to help, she is being struck by realization that the moth is on the verge of death, and her actions would interfere the way life and death are connected to each other, as if even though she put an effort to help and enhance the possibility of the moth?s survival, yet death still would be inevitable. It?s like a synchronized system that nobody can guess when it will encounter us.

The Death of the Moth compares the insignificant short struggle and life of a moth to the daily struggles of human life. Moth as a symbol of human and it relates to human?s struggle to survive and how human will encounter death as well. When we encounter death, we become the same creature, no matter what our status in the world before. Hence, nobody can escape death, it?s inevitable and unescapable.

Read Virginia Woolf?s essay The Death of the Moth here :


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